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In-depth reviews

BMW X5 - Interior, design and technology

Styling tweaks sharpen up the looks of the BMW X5, while its quality interior offers a luxurious feel

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.2 out of 5

Price
£69,800 to £114,845
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​The latest BMW X5 is instantly recognisable, which is something you can say about most other German manufacturers’ evolving model lines. Revisions made to the exterior styling bring it more in line with the brand’s current design themes, so there are thinner headlamps to match the BMW X6, plus you can choose an illuminated kidney grille to match that car and the pricier BMW XM. There aren’t quite as many changes at the rear, besides a set of new tail lights.

Inside, the X5 features the latest curved digital dashboard comprising a 12.3-inch driver display and a 14.9-inch central touchscreen display lifted from the all-electric BMW iX. It replaces the physical buttons for the climate controls, and while the temperature and menu icon are permanently on display, it won’t be as easy to adjust on the move as with the toggle controls found in the Mercedes GLE. Also, the digital driver display doesn’t have the level of customisation you’ll find from Audi’s Virtual Cockpit as featured in the Audi Q7.

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The interior quality is excellent, with fine materials, classy finishes, and an overall sense that it’s all screwed together very convincingly. You can option real leather upholstery on the seats and dashboard to replace the standard artificial leather material called Sensafin, along with polished glass for the start/stop button, gear lever and iDrive controller. Speaking of iDrive, there’s also the latest version of BMW’s iDrive control system, which works well, although it’s getting increasingly complicated to navigate.

Interesting options for the X5 include a panoramic sunroof with a starlight night-time illumination mode. You can also have laser headlamps that pierce the gloom with a 500-metre maximum range. Meanwhile, the Offroad pack mentioned earlier brings four loose-surface driving modes – sand, rock, gravel and snow – and adds underbody protection for X5 users who want to see a bit more of the countryside.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The infotainment set-up features wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, while Android Auto is provided through a wired connection. The main interface is the iDrive controller situated next to the gear lever, which controls the 14.9-inch screen, although you can also interact with it via touch. The screen's graphics are crisp, and it responds swiftly to inputs. There’s another screen (12.3-inch) in front of the driver, but it’s not as configurable as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

As you’d expect, the X5 comes with sat-nav and a fine standard audio system, but if you’re an audiophile, there’s always a 16-speaker, 415-watt Harman Kardon sound system. Or if you’re really hard to please, a 1,500-watt, 20-speaker Bowers & Wilkins diamond surround sound system for even crisper sound quality.

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